The Role That Social Psychology Has Played In Creating Our Divided World*

Social psychologists, more than anyone, are aware of the consequences of putting people into groups, so why do they keep encouraging us to do it?

When I first introduce my students to the topic of social psychology, I usually set it in the context of the Second World War. I explain that many of European social psychology’s seminal studies and key thinkers were motivated (by personal connection to the Holocaust) to understand what would make humans commit such atrocities. No matter how many times I have…